TopBilled

What gets your vote for the SILLIEST musical ever?

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My grandfather used to call things like this cornball.

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Is WITH A SONG IN MY HEART the silliest, most corny musical ever? I tend to think so. It's entertaining, I will give it that much, but some of the schmaltzy musical numbers are just outrageously over the top. Having them sing 'Home on the Range' just before the plane crashes was about the silliest thing I have ever seen in a movie of this type. I guess I will have to read one of the three biographies about Jane Froman to see if they really did sing where the deer and the antelope roam moments before the wing caught on a wave and they overturned. Though I strongly suspect they did not.

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37 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

My grandfather used to call things like this cornball.

mv5bmja4oty4oti4nl5bml5banbnxkftztcwmzyw

Is WITH A SONG IN MY HEART the silliest, most corny musical ever? I tend to think so. It's entertaining, I will give it that much, but some of the schmaltzy musical numbers are just outrageously over the top. Having them sing 'Home on the Range' just before the plane crashes was about the silliest thing I have ever seen in a movie of this type. I guess I will have to read one of the three biographies about Jane Froman to see if they really did sing where the deer and the antelope roam moments before the wing caught on a wave and they overturned. Though I strongly suspect they did not.

"Home on the Range" is the Kansas state song, so I just thought everybody would be singing it if they were in a good mood on an airplane.  LOL

I loved this movie as a child because I was moved by the singer's real life tenacity and courage to continue her career and her war effort work, despite her serious injuries.

I always have loved true stories about women who went out and accomplished something--after others told them that it was impossible.

 

(BTW-- Jane Froman and the pilot really did wade water all those hours until they were rescued.)

 

The music is good and varied in this movie and Susan Hayward accomplishes her usual ballistic performance.

 

*But what I really enjoyed about this film were the supporting actors.  This movie was the first time I ever noticed Thelma Ritter. She would break my heart -- how she had to be tough with Hayward in order to motivate her-- and then leave the room and breakdown.

The casting was good too with Una Merkel as the nun and Robert Wagner as the shell shocked  GI.  Wagner was later to say that this was the film that first got him noticed and jump -started his career.

Your grandpa may have been right about something being corny - - but there's always a certain amount of smaltz and kitsch that you have to have in these kind of old Technicolor biopics.

On another thread, someone was noticing how the non -Technicolor, but black and white, "Yankee Doodle Dandy" was disgustingly boring and too long.  I think today you have to have a certain kind of personality and a certain kind of love of music and performers to truly appreciate legendary artists who have given their whole life up to show business. 

"Funny Girl" just got under the wire. Thank God!

Top Billed-- as corny as you may think some parts of this movie are, don't you think Susan Hayward was very good and convincing in her role as a performer and as a woman?

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Silliest in a good way: Thoroughly Modern Millie. It was so stupid it was funny and charming, and I love it!

Silly as in can I have the two hours back I spent watching it: Grease 2 (I actually liked Grease, and I like Michelle Pfeiffer so foolishly thought I would like Grease 2)

Silly as in I don't even want to have to see the previews: Probably the High School Musical garbage.

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As much as I love them, I laugh a lot in the wrong places during The Dolly Sisters, The Shocking Miss Pilgrim, and At Long Last Love.

Intentionally silly musicals that are fun are The Court Jester and Animal Crackers.

And then there is The Chocolate Soldier, which uses one song from Straus' The Chocolate Soldier and the plot of The Guardsman.

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12 hours ago, harriet w. andrade said:

I think Bye Bye Birdie does not have enough of the main character, Conrad Birdie.  I liked the Ed Sullivan number and the social satire about teenagers.   

I saw it as a pre-teen at Radio City Music Hall (really big screen), and was not impressed by the shimmying bimbo open and close. And I couldn't figure out why the last part of the film had been taken over by Disney and we were now getting a cousin of Flubber sequence with the crazed conductor and sped up ballet.  Stupid.  The parts from the stage show were okay, but the hokey "Happy Face" and yet more Ann Margret in skin tight pants ad nauseum was unnecessary Hollywoodization of a decent show. 

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The Pajama Game. I was in the play, and the songs were ridiculous and the plot was so loose. One scene a company picnic, another scene a company fundraiser. It was all over the place. Also I've never been a fan of Doris Day, so I wasnt a fan of the movie either.

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8 hours ago, Princess of Tap said:

"Home on the Range" is the Kansas state song, so I just thought everybody would be singing it if they were in a good mood on an airplane.  LOL

I loved this movie as a child because I was moved by the singer's real life tenacity and courage to continue her career and her war effort work, despite her serious injuries.

I always have loved true stories about women who went out and accomplished something--after others told them that it was impossible.

 

(BTW-- Jane Froman and the pilot really did wade water all those hours until they were rescued.)

 

The music is good and varied in this movie and Susan Hayward accomplishes her usual ballistic performance.

 

*But what I really enjoyed about this film were the supporting actors.  This movie was the first time I ever noticed Thelma Ritter. She would break my heart -- how she had to be tough with Hayward in order to motivate her-- and then leave the room and breakdown.

The casting was good too with Una Merkel as the nun and Robert Wagner as the shell shocked  GI.  Wagner was later to say that this was the film that first got him noticed and jump -started his career.

Your grandpa may have been right about something being corny - - but there's always a certain amount of smaltz and kitsch that you have to have in these kind of old Technicolor biopics.

On another thread, someone was noticing how the non -Technicolor, but black and white, "Yankee Doodle Dandy" was disgustingly boring and too long.  I think today you have to have a certain kind of personality and a certain kind of love of music and performers to truly appreciate legendary artists who have given their whole life up to show business. 

"Funny Girl" just got under the wire. Thank God!

Top Billed-- as corny as you may think some parts of this movie are, don't you think Susan Hayward was very good and convincing in her role as a performer and as a woman?

Great post, Princess. Yes I think Hayward is certainly very effective. But she's a little too "ballistic" (was that the word you used?) or intense. I don't think she was the right actress for the role. And her speaking voice does not exactly match Froman's dubbed in singing voice. Incidentally I have the same problem with Eleanor Parker's husky speaking voice in INTERRUPTED MELODY not matching the higher-sounding tone of the real-life singer in the musical selections. It sort of takes me out of the story.

When my grandfather called things cornball, he was usually doing so in an affectionate way. But he was also saying "that's Hollywood for ya!"

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8 hours ago, LexieM said:

The Pajama Game. I was in the play, and the songs were ridiculous and the plot was so loose. One scene a company picnic, another scene a company fundraiser. It was all over the place. Also I've never been a fan of Doris Day, so I wasnt a fan of the movie either.

It's always good to get the perspective of someone who's performed the music/musical and knows what it's like to make it "come alive." I was once in a community theater production of Fiddler on the Roof. We were so successful that we extended our little run. And I daresay, I think we were better than the actors in the film. In fact, our Yente (the old matchmaker woman) was perfect. And our Tevye is the one I think of, not Topol's version on screen.

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8 hours ago, Jim K said:

As much as I love them, I laugh a lot in the wrong places during The Dolly Sisters, The Shocking Miss Pilgrim, and At Long Last Love.

Intentionally silly musicals that are fun are The Court Jester and Animal Crackers.

And then there is The Chocolate Soldier, which uses one song from Straus' The Chocolate Soldier and the plot of The Guardsman.

I like your inclusion of THE COURT JESTER in your examples. Yes, some musicals are designed to be silly. In fact, if we didn't have Danny Kaye or the Marx Brothers acting silly, we'd think there was something wrong!

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8 hours ago, BlueMoods said:

Silliest in a good way: Thoroughly Modern Millie. It was so stupid it was funny and charming, and I love it!

Silly as in can I have the two hours back I spent watching it: Grease 2 (I actually liked Grease, and I like Michelle Pfeiffer so foolishly thought I would like Grease 2)

Silly as in I don't even want to have to see the previews: Probably the High School Musical garbage.

I agree that THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE belongs in the dictionary next to silly. It's a little too silly for me. I've never seen GREASE 2 but even the original GREASE is a bit much in spots.

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Chorus Line...really Michael Douglas!

Babes in Toyland...with Annette Funicello. I loved it when I was younger, but I cringe to watch it now.

 

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Both silly/good and silly/bad for me is “The Valley of the Dolls”. It’s so insanely over-the-top god-awful, and yet there’s also something deep-down authentic in it that still makes it a riveting movie to watch.

 

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4 hours ago, TopBilled said:

I agree that THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE belongs in the dictionary next to silly. It's a little too silly for me. I've never seen GREASE 2 but even the original GREASE is a bit much in spots.

As in what I said about "Born to Dance" - can I have that time back minus two of Powell's dance numbers.  Not sure why it bothers me so much - but it was not what I thought I had missed for so many years and now I know why I did! 

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Just now, JDC_NYC said:

As in what I said about "Born to Dance" - can I have that time back minus two of Powell's dance numbers.  Not sure why it bothers me so much - but it was not what I thought I had missed for so many years and now I know why I did! 

A favorite moment in Born to Dance is when Eleanor Powell tells her daughter to run along and play while they are on the George Washington Bridge.

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What first came to my mind was At Long Last Love.  Peter Bogdanovich's 1975 homage to 1930's musicals.  Burt Reynolds and Cybill Shephard playing Fred and Ginger seemed pretty silly for a year that brought movies like Jaws, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and Dog Day Afternoon, but at the time I applauded Peter's attempt to recreate the magic of movies I so loved (and of course still do). 

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The picture was quite a bomb but Peter Bogdanovich later said:

I had seen the early Lubitsch musicals that in fact people forget, but Lubitsch was the first one to make the first all talking, all dancing, all singing musical, The Love Parade, 1929, and Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald and Lillian Roth and all those folks did everything live. There was an orchestra right off the camera. I just love the idea that they did all that live, and you can feel the spontaneity in the pictures still today. ONE HOUR WITH YOU, THE MERRY WIDOW, SMILING LIEUTENANT [THE SMILING LIEUTENANT], all those early Lubitsch… those had a tremendous impact. I mean, basically, that's what I was trying to do, to try to recreate that kind of sad, funny, melancholy, silly feeling of those early musicals and do it live and make it feel spontaneous. 

So if you take that into consideration and view it from the standpoint that the story line, costumes, set decor and Cole Porter music are not so very different from those Fred and Ginger movies (and be willing to overlook the fact that Burt and Cybill can't dance or sing) you might actually enjoy it, as I did.  Also Eileen Brennan and John Hillerman are quite good in the humorous "But in the Morning No" number (1939's DuBarry Was A Lady) and bring to mind Helen Broderick and Edward Everett Horton.

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1 hour ago, Jim K said:

A favorite moment in Born to Dance is when Eleanor Powell tells her daughter to run along and play while they are on the George Washington Bridge.

I love her character,  but her mothering choices really don't pass today's muster. it is hysterical.  I'm one of those moods who takes a good dose of "relax and let the kid be a kid" with contemporary awareness of legitimate concerns.  Watching the parenting in "Born to Dance" is entertaining in itself, I have to agree.

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Xanadu is bad -- but in a good way.

 

The Court Jester is not my favorite. 

 

Grease 2 is a horror, but for my money, Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band qualifies as a Crime Against Humanity retroactively punishable by the United Nations. It is, bar none (although many will offer some contenders) the most gawdawful piece of musical torture ever crafted.?

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5 hours ago, TopBilled said:

GREASE 2 but even the original GREASE is a bit much in spots.

Multiply those spots by 4 or 5 and you've got Grease 2. It was pointless other than to try to cash in on the original, and in my book it failed miserably. No idea what kind of reviews it got from critics or viewers or what the box office was. I only saw it when it went to cable TV. At least I didn't spend money on a ticket!

Of course, as a rule, I don't like sequels. They rarely if ever live up to the original, even when the original cast is involved.

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I have never actually seen this movie, but my pick would have to go to Paint Your Wagon.  There is nothing sillier than imagining Clint Eastwood in a movie musical.

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Take Me Out to the Ball Game with Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Esther Williams and Betty Garrett. The songs are silly. The plot is ridiculous.  Esther Williams owning a baseball team?  Waste of Technicolor. 

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I wonder if we're using silly as a synonym for dumb. Sometimes silly is fun. And other times it's unbearable.

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2 hours ago, Sarah Last said:

I have never actually seen this movie, but my pick would have to go to Paint Your Wagon.  There is nothing sillier than imagining Clint Eastwood in a movie musical.

I disagree.  There is something sillier-- casting Lee Marvin in a musical and having him sing a solo. I saw the movie as a child at the theater and thought it was the worst singing I'd ever heard in my life.  At least Eastwood could carry a tune.

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My vote goes to Bye, Bye Birdie.  The Broadway show was fantastic.  Then Hollywood got their hands on it.  Casting Janet Leigh over Chita Rivera was a huge mistake topped only by inserting that whole sequence about speeding up the ballet dancers with Albert's chemical formula.  Talk about silly.  I was just a kid when  I saw it and I thought it was silly then.  Now, it just seems ridiculous.  Even Dick Van Dyke, the star, was embarrassed by the movie version.

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